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Tasmania v Sri Lankans
The Daily News - 1-4 December 1995


Sri Lankans face tough task against Tasmania

The Sri Lankans play their penultimate match before the first test in Perth next week here, tomorrow (Dec. 1) but it will be a daunting one for the Lankans due to the prevailing fickle spring weather extremely cold and windy, which could be a stumbling block for the players to get that much needed practice especially for the batsmen.

According to skipper Ranatunga, they need a long batting session. The return to form of Aravinda de Silva will boost his confidence. The other batsmen, openers Mahanama, Hathurusinghe and Jayasuriya, whoever pairs off, must play a responsible and long innings to lay a good foundation. Sanjeewa Ranatunga, comes in at no. 3 in the absence of injured Gurusinha.

Hashan Tillekeratne the tough no. 6 bat, was rested in Davenport due to a muscle injury and in all probability he may be rested for this match too, to be in condition for the Perth test. Arjuna, the batsman in form, has the guts and temperament to play in any conditions.

Manager Mendis, said they hope to bat as long as possible, at the NTCA Oval pitch, provided the weather keeps reasonably fine. After playing in sultry conditions here, the players move on to hotter climactic conditions in Perth for the first Test.

According to Mendis, Gurusinha, is responding fast to his fractured thumb injury. But there is some doubt of his being fit for the Perth Test.

The players are fit and rarin' to go unlike in the past, thanks to Dave Whatmore, who has paid special emphasis on stamina for this tough and enduring tour.

According to curator Paul Medcraft, there is some grass left on the pitch and the conditions could help the fast bowlers on either side with the occasional bounce and lift.

Tessie coach Greg Shipard, the former W. A. and Tasmania shield player, has commended the Lankan spinners 'Murali' and Jayantha Silva and Dharmasena, (who cuts the ball) to exploit this pitch. Tasmania has picked their best team to offer that much needed opposition to the Lankans for today's game barring Boon (on test duty).

Dashing Trio Ricky Ponting is a big name in this city. Ponting, who scored 99 runs against the Lankans in the one-dayer, could have equalled Gary Goodman's century in a one-dayer made in 1978-79 for Tasmania, but for being stumped in the last ball of the innings off Jayasuriya.

Shaun Young, the other exciting young allrounder also made runs in the first match. Both are tipped to make to the World Cup squad. The batting has much depth and the bowling, a mixture of pace and spin to test the Lankan batsmen. It could turn out to be a keen contest provided the weather keeps fine.

Tasmania (from) R. Tucker, (cap), Jamie Cox, M. Divenuto, Dene Hills, R. Ponting, Shaun Young, Mark Atkinson (W/K), Mark Hatton, Mark Ridgeway, Gerard, Denton, Josh Marquet, Michael Ferrell.

Day 1

Ponting (84 n.o.)sounds warning to selectors - Bernie Wijesekera

Ricky Ponting gave yet another warning to the Aussie selectors when he helped Tasmania to 252 for 4 at close with a strokefilled knock of 84 not out (8 fours and a six in 150 balls), which highlighted the first day's play in their four-day match against Sri Lanka, here today.

Sri Lanka had to toil all day in blazing sunshine. They took only two wickets in the first two sessions, until left-arm spinner Jayantha Silva captured two more wickets in the final session for 56 runs in a marathon spell of 24 tidy overs. Dharmasena, too had a long spell - 29-9-78-1. The pair bowled 53 overs between them, to contain the batsmen with their guile.


At the end of the day's play at a media meeting, skipper Ranatunga said that he was not happy with the umpiring in this match.

'Tassie' captain Rod Tucker winning the toss elected to bat on a beautiful sunny day ideal for cricket. It was a big blow for Sri Lanka in losing the toss when their batsmen should have got a long stay at the middle in conditions much suitable for batting, where the top order has still to get going, barring Arjuna Ranatunga.

Tasmania opening with Antony Daly and Jamie Cox batted slowly but surely against the Lankan attack spearheaded by Chaminda Vaas and Munasinghe (playing his first match on tour). Both bowlers held no terrors and the pair put on 40 runs before Cox, cocked up a ball at forward short-leg where Jayasuriya gleefully accepted it off Dharmasena. Cox made 19.

Daly playing his fifth first class match, joined by Michael DiVenuto, saw a painful first session ending at 72 for 1 with Daly on 27 and DiVenuto on 14 made in 30 overs. Dunusinghe taking the gloves in this game impressed behind the sticks. After the adjournment, the pair plodded in on the same vein and posted a 50-run stand. But at 95, DiVenuto was caught behind by Dunusinghe for 19 runs, in 72 balls in the second ball of Munasinghe's eighth over. The 55-run second wicket stand came in 150 balls.


The advent of Ricky Ponting to the wicket brought some life to the innings and the 100 was hoisted in 199 mts. in 259 balls. At this stage Daly clawed his way to his first, first class 50, when he off-drove Jayantha Silva for four, made in 196 mts. in 135 balls. Ponting the batsman in form played some effective drives and pulls. He pulled one over mid-wicket off Dharmasena, for 4 a typical C. I Gunasekera shot. Using his feet Ricky played both pace and spin confidently.

Ponting at 14 was caught behind, off Munasinghe, but it was a no-ball.


In this session the Sri Lanka ground fielding tended to be ragged. At tea Tasmania were 157 for 2, with opener Daly on 61 and Ricky Ponting 35 n.o. Ricky playing some flowing strokes on either side completed his second successive 50 against Sri Lanka, in 99 mts. and 85 balls with 5 fours. Finally Daly's stubborn innings ended when he was smartly stumped by Dunusinghe off Silva in the 67th over for 70 runs made in 199 balls with 4 fours.

In the next ball from Silva, Shaun Young was lucky to survive a confident appeal for leg-before, but disallowed. Silva in his 17th over had Ricky caught behind, but again it was turned down by the umpire. Silva, hands on his knees, kicked the pitch in disgust. Jayantha bowling to a fine line had both Ponting and Young guessing.

Day 2

Arjuna Ranatunga leads the way for Sri Lanka against Tasmania By Bernie Wijesekera

Sri Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga led the way with a fluent 69 on the second day of the four-day match against Tasmania here today and placed Sri Lanka with a chance of overhauling the home team.

At close of play Sri Lanka were 229 for five wickets in reply to Tasmania's 335 for four wickets declared.

Ranatunga looking to lift the morale of the team in the leadup to next week's first Test with Australia in Perth, smashed 69 runs off 79 balls in the final session to remain unbeaten. He had nine fours and a six.

With skipper Ranatunga is Kumar Dharmasena (22 not out) and this pair has added 76 runs in their unbroken sixth wicket partnership.

Earlier openers Roshan Mahanama (29) and Chandika Hathurusinghe (73) gave the side an effective start putting on 64 runs for their opening partnership in 88 minutes.

However there was a middle-order batting slump with Sanjeewa Ranatunga out for a 'duck', Sanath Jayasuriya for 4 and Romesh Kaluwitharana for 27 but Hathurusinghe who made 73 in 195 minutes which included ten fours batted well within himself. From 64 for no wicket the scoreboard tumbled to 79 for 3 wickets then Kaluwitharana left with the score at 117 and Hathurusinghe's brave innings came to an end with the total at 153.

Tasmania's left-arm spinner Mark Hatton finished with figures of 2 for 55 from 22 overs including eight maidens.

Earlier when Tasmania continued their first innings from Friday's score of 252 for 4 wickets, Ricky Ponting enhanced his claim for a Test place with an unbeaten 131 when the home team declared before the lunch interval giving Sri Lanka 22 minutes batting before the lunch break.

Day 3

Bernie Wijesekara reporting from Australia

If the second day's play belonged to Tasmania's Ricky Ponting, the little dynamo, then the third day was dominated to Sri Lanka's man-of-steel, Arjuna Ranatunga, who played one of his finest innings with a masterly 145 (with 20 fours and six, in 158 balls, in 275 mts) to salvage Sri Lanka who were tottering at 117 for 4 (on day two). Finally the Lankans made 369 all out in reply to Tasmania's 335 for 5 dec.

Tasmania in their second innings after being led by 34 runs were 151 for 4 at close - lead of 117, with six wickets intact. Openers Jamie Cox 34, M. Atkinson 43 (with 3 fours) put on 57 runs for the first wicket, followed by M. DiVinuto 26.

Chaminda Vaas in his second spell - eighth over - captured 2 for one run in five balls - 11-5-10-2.

Arjuna at 117 for 4 joined opener Hathurusinghe, who fell lbw for 73 - the next best highest scorer on this tour.

The burly left-hander again displayed his determination, application and concentration - the cornerstone for his batting success on this tour - held the batting together. This was something that the other frontliners lacked. Ranatunga, received admirable support from the lower order. Firstly, it was pencil-slim Dharmasena who defended stubbornly to get involved in an unfinished sixthwicket stand of 76 runs. Arjuna belted 69 n.o. in 79 balls, while Kumar was on 22. The pair batting with assurance continued their overnight score of 229 for 5. But with the addition of 14 runs to the total, Dharmasena became a victim of a run-out off a direct throw by fast bowler Dunton on his follow through. The pair put on 90 runs between them - the highest for any wicket (first class) on this tour.

Meanwhile, Arjuna batting in his own inimitable style joined by Dunusinghe, completed his 100 when he pulled paceman Marquet for three. Dunusinghe, who gloved well, gave admirable support to his captain. He was out for 19 runs made in 49 mts. The seventhwicket added 43 runs.

At lunch Sri Lanka were 345 for 8. Arjuna on 136 and Manjula Munasinghe on 9. After the adjournment, Arjuna was out for 145 scoring 259 first class runs in three innings. Munasinghe, last man out, struck 24 (with a four and a six, in 48 balls) - all out for 369.

Tasmania had 75 mts before tea and were 57 for one. Jemie Cox was stumped by Dunusinghe for 34 (with 4 fours). The batsman was beaten by Jayantha Silva's flight, two balls before tea.

The Lankan pacemen Vaas and Munasinghe couldn't get much assistance from this slow pitch, where as the 'Tassie' openers handled them well.

Ricky Ponting, who will be celebrating his 21st birthday on Dec 19, may be rewarded with an early present - with a debut Test cap against Sri Lanka, as Greg Blewett continues to fail against the Pakistanis. Ricky's 131 n.o. was watched by Aussie selector Jim Higgs, here on Saturday.

Todate Ponting has scored 480 runs with three 100s including twin centuries against Shield champions Queensland - Av. 120.

Injuries to key players have plagued the Sri Lanka camp. Gurusinha is out of the Perth Test. Jayasuriya and Sanjeewa were given the option, but both failed to stay at the wicket.

Day 4

Rain mars exciting finish in Tasmania - Bernie Wijesekera

Sri Lanka were set to make 240 runs in 54 overs for victory by the 'Tassie' skipper Rod Tucker, when he closed the second innings at 273 for 5 dec., made in 84.1 overs.

The Lankans who finally settled for a draw, took up the chase with gusto, when they decided to open with Hathurusinghe and lefthander Sanath Jayasuriya. The pair got on with their objective in a business-like manner with cheeky single which rattled the Tassie bowlers.

Jayasuriya the more aggressive hit a huge six over the David Boon stand off fast bowler Denton. But two balls later Sanath's brave effort ended. He was caught by Di Vinuto in the cordon for a spicy 31 made in 49 balls (with 2 fours and a six). Romesh Kaluwitharana, who came in next smashed the bowlers all over.

Romesh in a belligerent mood hit 50 runs in 42 balls (with six fours) Going for a big hit he was bowled by offspinner Farrell for 53. The second-wicket partnership between 'Hathuru' and Romesh realised 80 runs in 87 balls. 'Kalu's' 53 runs came 48 balls, (with 6 fours) 133 for 2 in the 29th over.

Hathurusinghe on 31, when going for a short single strained his muscle and had to use a runner. Joined by skipper Arjuna Ranatunga the Lankans were set for an exciting win with 80 runs to be made in 21 overs, when the cruel weather at 5 p.m. forced play to be abandoned at 5.51 p.m. depriving the Lankans of a heart- warming win before the Perth Test 160 for 2 in 33 overs.

Hathurusinghe batted well to remain with a gritty 61 not out made (in 90 balls with 6 fours in 148 mins), for his second half century in the match. In the first innings he made 73 runs to regain his form. While Ranatunga was 11 n.o., in 11 balls. The Lankan 150 was posted in 190 balls. Tomorrow (Dec. 5) the Lankans move to Perth for the First Test starting on Dec. 8.

Tasmania, who were 151 for 4 (overnight) were 248 for 5 at lunch. The only wicket to fall was that of Shaun Young 21, beautifully caught in the slips by Sanjeewa Ranatunga to give Chaminda Vaas his third scalp.

Antony Daly, who was (11 overnight) went on to collect his second successive first class 50. Daly, with skipper Rod Tucker 60 not out was involved in an unbeaten 168run stand for the sixth wicket 273 for 6, when the declaration was made after lunch, leaving Sri Lanka to make 240 runs for victory in 54 overs. It was a bitterly cold day for the Lankan cricketers. They had to wear two sweaters to keep themselves warm. Daly, yet another young prospect, had 2 fours in his 62 n.o., in 146 balls. While Tucker too registered twin half centuries 54 n.o., and 60 n.o., (7 fours in 72 balls).

Source: The Daily News